Province reassures Manitoba nurses nervous about Ebola

WINNIPEG — Health officials reassured Manitoba nurses that plans are in place to safely treat Ebola patients, if any cases of the deadly disease emerge here.

The Manitoba Nurses Union said its members felt unprepared.

“The problem was the lack of communication, so I talked to several nurses and I didn’t actually know what the plan was. Everyone’s telling me there was there was a plan but no one was sharing that plan,” said Sandi Mowat, MNU president.

The nurses’ union met with Winnipeg Regional Health Authority officials Thursday to discuss the province’s Ebola preparedness, including the use of personal protective clothing. A new model including one-piece suit, booties, full visor and neck seal will be available. So far about 400 nurses have been trained on how to properly put on and take off the equipment, but not all nurses will be.

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“It’s complex. It’s difficult to maintain competency in how to use the equipment when you train everybody; that’s just not practical,” said Helen Clark from the WRHA.

Officials couldn’t say how many nurses will be trained or how much protective clothing will be ordered.

“I think we have to have  a long hard look at what the pandemic preparedness is in this province and how we go forward for future kinds of pandemics,” Mowat said.

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